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Health News of Monday, 13 February 2017


Stop tagging epileptic patients as cursed - Dr Ruth Antwi

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As Ghana today joins the rest of the world to mark World Epilepsy Day, Specialist Assistant at the Psychiatric Department of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Dr. Ruth Owusu Antwi is entreating people to desist from stigmatizing epileptic patients and tagging them as cursed.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

According to Dr. Ruth, epilepsy is viewed in Ghana as a demonic illness and a person suffering from epilepsy is branded as the cursed one.

This she indicates has over the years become a major stumbling block to the treatment and curing of epilepsy.

‘Stigma is the primary problem with the condition. That is one of the limitations to people going out openly to the hospital to seek for help and rather go to obscure places to get help. And that makes it difficult for people to even talk to other people about the problem that my child or I have this condition and so where can I get help,’ she complained.

The Specialist Assistant at the Psychiatric Department of KATH however dismisses the myths that epilepsy is communicable through touch.

She further pleaded with the public to desist from restricting or placing objects in the mouths of patients who get seizures.

According to her, epileptic patients need not suffer repeated seizures when treatment is affordable and readily available at the right places such as the hospitals.

The theme for this year’s celebration was ‘putting epilepsy into the picture’.

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